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GP leaders vote down proposal for struggling practices to go private

GP leaders from across England have voted down a proposal for struggling practices to be supported by the BMA to go private.

The motion, debated at today's England LMCs Conference, said that 'given that a number of GPs feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS' the conference 'calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model'.

Delegates discussing the motion said there had to be an 'honest debate' about models amid Government and CCG underfunding of general practice.

Proposing the motion, Dr Christiane Harris from Bedfordshire LMC said GPs feel like they are on a 'hamster wheel' every day. 

'All this motion is asking is for GPC to support practices who want to explore a future outside the NHS,' they argued.

But Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, urged delegates to 'please' not vote the motion through.

She said: 'The solution is not to throw the towel in and vote for private practice.'

She argued that it would be a 'betrayal' against the 'principles of the NHS', and that the UK, as the fifth largest economy 'can afford the NHS'.

Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, deputy chair of the BMA's GP Committee, said the motion did not call on practices in general to start charging for services, just that BMA should support practices who choose to make this move.

But he added: 'I must ask conference in view of the message... that this will send out, that you vote against this motion.'

Motion in full

BEDFORDSHIRE: Given that a number of GPs genuinely feel that they can no longer operate within the NHS, conference calls on GPC England to urgently look at how these GPs can be supported to operate within a private, alternative model.

Readers' comments (23)

  • Public opinion has allowed the slow decline of general practice for the last decade. Does it even matter anymore if even more practices are going to close? When will the public support us?

    Every country in the world accepts the need for some healthcare funding outside of taxation. Why is the NHS so special?

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  • The BMA is a political lobby group representing the viewa of it's own professional officers.
    As such this is a perfectly legitimate decision,though one might question the name,possibly a misrepresentation?
    The fundamental question is how many clinical GP's, who do not have another reason,actually freely subscribe.
    Does it any longer possess a mandate?
    On a slightly associated issue,does the BMA have any involvement with consultants doing private work?

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  • https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/private-practice

    "She argued that it would be a 'betrayal'

    Really!betrayal!strong words,we are talking about the majority of doctors here.

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  • Lefties gonna left. #savethecommunistNHScomrades

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  • Well Tom,
    On this occasion they have represented my view and I'm a member. It certainly would betray Bevan's founding principles which was one of the main reasons I chose to become a Dr. When I'm asked to vote for a representative(s) I do. But my view is just as anecdotal as yours and neither of us know what the majority of Drs feel unless they are all asked.

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  • We all need to be asked we need a vote.ALL OF US

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  • So Turkeys do vote for Christmas.

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  • Cobblers

    If you are going into a negotiation you want the best possible leverage. Ideally you want the other side to know it too. Look up BATNA.

    If conference had sanctioned the option of exloring the private service that would be likely to galvanise HMG responses.

    Now it seems the BMA is hogtied to the NHS hamster wheel and, again, HMG know it too and, no doubt, are laughing themselves silly.

    Never mind, I and many many others have and are voting with their feet and exploring the private option themselves. And I chuckle to myself that I have saved the BMA subs since they kept their powder dry in 1990 when this descent into GP hell began.

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  • Tom Caldwell

    I think that if BMA delegates voted against this purely on the fact it goes against the principles of the NHS then they are not doing what they are in position for. Almost By definition they are not acting as a union in Drs best interests against a (near) monopoly employer if the cannot consider anything that threatens or opposes the monopoly employers position.

    Indeed if you replace NHS with "Monopoly Employer" above it does rather sound like the BMA represents employers not employees, odd union.

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  • Tom Caldwell

    But Dr Jackie Applebee, from Tower Hamlets LMC, urged delegates to 'please' not vote the motion through.

    She said: 'The solution is not to throw the towel in and vote for private practice.'

    She argued that it would be a 'betrayal' against the 'principles of the Monopoly Employer', and that the UK, as the fifth largest economy 'can afford the Monopoly Employer'.

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  • Oh FFS. Can these people really not get it?

    It’s already too late to turn this ship around.

    Bedfordshire want to start work on the lifeboats, very sensibly, only to be told they can’t.

    Well two fingers rampant to that.

    Dr Applebee can keep playing Nearer My God To Thee if she likes.

    The rest of us need to plan our exit, with or without the BMA.

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  • It was the wrong motion and turned political. It should have said that BMA would support practices for whom introducing private practice in parallel with their NHS practice would enable them to survive where it was possible. I voted for the motion

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  • She argued that it would be a 'betrayal' against the 'principles of the NHS', and that the UK, as the fifth largest economy 'can afford the NHS'.

    It is NOT the job of the doctors to keep the NHS going!! its the job of the citizens who vote and the govt they vote for. allowing private services to develop will give medical professionals an opportunity NOT to depend on NHS for their income.It will make like better for medical professional. But I guess thats TOO much for the save the NHS brigade. Why do you insist on making everyones life miserable.??

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  • And so the squeeze will tighten as Hunt knows we will just continue to suck it up. Principles don’t pay the mortgage.

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  • But he added: 'I must ask conference in view of the message... that this will send out, that you vote against this motion.'

    No wonder doctors are leaving the BMA. The BMA just does not represent doctors interests anymore. Its Obsolete.

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  • Once again BMA and the cardigans forget they are a UNION not a government or nhs stooge machine.

    Has tower hamlets ever done anything useful?

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  • It beggars belief that we are prioritising the idealism of the NHS above our own well-being, self respect and financial security of ourselves and our families.

    The lefty cardigans need to retire and move over for some new blood who have a pair of Balls and a spine to get things changed.

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  • AlanAlmond

    This dead end group of Drs
    Guess why no one wants to join the GP ranks
    It’s a profession for plonkers with no self respect.
    There’s a process of passive self selection at work..people leave. I too don’t want to be part of this losers group anymore
    Stuff this job up your jacksy

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  • Wisest thing I ever did was to leave the BMA years ago. Self serving cardigans.

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  • Its time to leave the BMA. The views of the average GP are no longer represented. We need a strong alternative union.

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